Amazon Web Services launches AWS Ground Station

By Kelly Dent

Amazon Web Services launches AWS Ground Station

AWS has unveiled a fully managed network of 12 antenna ground stations in AWS Regions all over the world, allowing customers to download, process, store, analyze, and make decisions based on their satellite data quickly and efficiently, making substantial cost savings in the process.

On day two of re:Invent, AWS revealed its newest service to thousands of enthusiastic attendees: AWS Ground Station.

This latest offering has no up-front payments and doesn’t demand long-term commitment from customers, making it easier and more cost-efficient for users to manage and scale satellite operations, and download satellite data into AWS Global Infrastructure Regions via an extensive network of 12 ground station antennas stationed all over the globe.

How does AWS Ground Station work?

Ground stations are the epicenter of the global satellite networks and facilitate communication between the ground and satellites.

Communication occurs via antennas that collect data and manage systems, controlling the satellite through a series of radio signals. Once all the data has been downloaded, users need servers, storage, and networking close to the antennas to process, store, and move the data.

“The launch of AWS Ground Station reinforces the provider’s position as a true leader in the cloud computing market,” said Sam Samarasekera, Business Manager at Jefferson Frank.

“By creating the first Ground Station as a service of its kind, AWS has effectively created tools to revolutionize the way businesses collect, process, and apply data across their operations.

“For tech professionals in general and AWS experts in particular, AWS Ground Station offers another great opportunity to expand their skillset and make them even more attractive to prospective employers all over the world.”

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AWS Ground Station simplifies matters by delivering Ground Station as a Service with global reach.

Once satellite data is downloaded to a ground station, it can be processed instantly using Amazon EC2 and stored in Amazon S3 before applying AWS analytics and deep-diving for insights.

Customers get direct access to AWS services and infrastructure, such as the provider’s low-latency global fiber network, and pay-per-minute for the antenna access time required.

Benefits of using AWS Ground Station

AWS Ground Station gives customers an effective way to manage satellite operations, process data, and incorporate it into apps and services while minimizing costs.

Overall, this service could save customers up to 80% of ground station costs by only paying for the antenna access time they use, safe in the knowledge that a global network of ground stations is ready to downlink data as necessary in a time-effective manner.

When it comes to speedy data downloads, two antennas are installed at each of the 12 AWS Ground Station locations, meaning that customers can benefit from rapid downloads and straightforward, on-demand scheduling.

Satellite data is a powerful resource and can be mission-critical when it comes to building important applications, but it is also highly complex and costly to construct and operate the infrastructure needed to do so.

“A few years back our customers asked us if we could remove that cost and complexity, and the more we thought about it, the more we realized that AWS with its global footprint was uniquely positioned to solve this challenge,” said Charlie Bell, Senior VP at AWS.

“Today, we are giving satellite customers the ability to dynamically scale their ground station antenna use based on actual need. And, they will be able to ingest data straight into AWS, where they can securely store, analyze, and transmit products to their customers without needing to worry about building all of the infrastructure themselves.”

Another key advantage lies in AWS Ground Station’s self-service graphical interface, which streamlines the process of locating antenna locations and communications windows in order to schedule antenna time accordingly.

This allows users to review, cancel, or reschedule any confirmed times within the console itself. Since a substantial number of antennas are located in the same locations as AWS Regions, customers can expect low-latency access to the additional AWS services required to process and store data.

AWS customers can effectively mix-and-match the provider’s product offering to custom-build innovative apps that could utilize anything from image recognition to machine learning, analytics, and beyond.

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